Qt3 Classic Game Club #21: Freespace 2

I wanted to pick Nord an Bert but I couldn’t find legitimate downloads for it anywhere. So instead you get one of the best space sims of all time.

That’s what the word on the street is anyway, I hadn’t played it before yesterday. It’s a classic that I’ve always wanted to try but never got around to.

Freespace 2 is available from GOG and Steam. (Reading through the Steam user reviews section it sounds like the install script is buggy.) If you want to try the moderned up version of the engine I recommend the GOG version and the FreeSpace Open Installer. There are also some scripts for gamepads using glovePIE that I haven’t tried yet.

OMG that’s hilarious, I just finished this game for the fifth time. :)

Still has the best story and combat in the business, as well as a HUD that still hasn’t been matched in terms of clearly presenting the pilot with all the information they need to succeed. I swear, this game makes me cry, fills the pit of my stomach with despair, and scares the hell out of me (don’t watch that if you don’t want a spoiler), even though I know what’s coming.

Seriously, even with my unabashed love of current darlings like Elite: Dangerous, Freespace 2 is still my favorite game of all time. So much so my next tattoo will be some symbology from this game. ;)

If you’ve not played it, go do so. You don’t need a joystick as I know many who play successfully with mouse and keyboard. It’s worth your time and effort.



I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

What’s funny to me is that I pulled my tag (divedivedive) that I use on Steam and Xbox Live from a random memory of this, totally blanking on what game it came from, wasn’t even sure it was a game. I need to boot this one up again, it’s been too long. Anyone know offhand if you can configure this to a joypad in any kind of workable way?

It didn’t recognize my 360 controller as a joystick in game. I did find some third party tools and scripts which were reported to work. If you give them a try let us know how it goes.

Hah, I only replay this game every few years or so, and just finished my latest run last week, so the timing is indeed hilarious. To me at least.

Is this playable with a HOTAS or just keyboard?

I’ve tried starting this game a few times over the (many) years and I just could not penetrate the long tutorial and the dry tone. Glad you picked this so I finally have incentive to push on and see what all the raving is about.

(PS: I too am annoyed that it’s not possible to get a hold of a lot of the old Infocom games. I would have picked A Mind Forever Voyaging or Suspended as my pick long ago…)

I’m shocked that this game hadn’t already been done as one of the classic game picks!

One of the reasons I love FS2 (and the original FS1) was because of how it handled capital ships. It was a stark contrast to the petite capital ships of the Wing Commander universe. I suppose the X-Wing games came close in terms of scale, but they were lacking the capital ship vs. capital ship encounters that made FS2 feel like you were participating in a huge space battle.

Night, you can skip the tutorials if you want. Little button is in the upper right if I recall.

Alan, I agree with all of what you said.

Tyler, sure is.

X-Wing and TIE Fighter both still had scaling issues, but they were more excusable. The biggest issue preventing capital ship encounters was the lack of armament on each coupled with how easy it was to render those capital ships defenseless by pumping eight laser blasts into each of the six or so turrets. Imperial Star Destroyers were actually not all that much of a threat once you had a shielded craft that could tank a couple of hits while you maneuvered for shots on those turrets, whereas a game like Rogue Squadron 2 actually put a proper amount of ordnance on the same ship to make it adequately intimidating.

You’ll never get a Colossus vs Sathanas-style capital ship duel in an X-Wing game that is anywhere near as satisfying.

We’ll hold them back here. Just get the Bastion through!

Man, that wound never heals.

I tried those gamepad scripts this morning. I’m using the more complex one with the shift key and different behaviors for tap and hold. I hardly every have to touch the keyboard. Instead, I have to leave my second monitor up on the mapping description as a reference. I’m slowly learning it.

As for the game itself, I’m a bit stuck on the first bomber mission. Maybe I should try a different craft, since command has decided not to provide any cover. Or the cover explodes early.

IIRC that bomber mission correctly, you have to weave a lot and also manage your wingmen to attack your targets specifically. If that’s the right bomber mission I’m thinking of. Or maybe that’s all of them.

Man, this is a great choice. I think I may have to dust off the old sidewinder and join in.

Apparently FS2 with a good force feedback stick (like the Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback 2, I’m told) is the best way to play the game, as it has DIRECTIONAL force feedback. I need to find a used FF2 somewhere…